The Baltimore Ravens took part in one of the great Super Bowl traditions Wednesday, as they met with President Obama on the White House’s South Lawn.
The president sported a purple tie to honor the team, as he congratulated the super-bowl champions, and praised them for their hard work and dedication. In his speech Obama spoke of how much the Ravens have given back to their beloved city of Baltimore. This year the Ravens have promised to donate varsity football and girls basketball jerseys to 42 local teams.
“So this year, Baltimore won’t just be seeing the Ravens on Sundays or Monday night or Thursday night,” Obama said. “You’ll see their impact in high schools under Friday night lights. And that’s a testimony to the connection they feel to this city.”
Obama praised the recently retired Ray Lewis for going out on top, and the recent free agent departure Ed Reed for being so gracious in his exit. After signing with the Houston Texans this offseason, Reed took out a full page ad in the Baltimore Sun thanking Ravens fans for their support over the years.
President Obama even made a claim that countless sports writers and analysts have shied away from in the past, calling Joe Flacco an ‘elite quarterback’, before joking about Flacco’s new six-year $120.6 million contract extension.
“That was some good timing,” Obama said. ““I don’t know about you Joe, but I would say that qualifies as elite. And I’d say that if you keep on playing like that, you’re going to challenge [Vice President Joe Biden] for the most popular person from Delaware.”
Obama, a Chicago native and long time Bears fan, wished the Ravens good luck in their week 11 matchup against his hometown team, before turning the microphone over to coach John Harbaugh. Harbaugh then presented the traditional team jersey to the President – a number 44 jersey with the name ‘Mr. President’ written across its shoulders.
While Ray Lewis was asked not to do his famous pregame dance out of fear it would destroy the South Lawn, it is safe to say that the visit was a memorable one for the Baltimore Ravens. Veteran Linebacker Terrell Suggs tweeted “One of the best experiences of my life!!!!!” while AFC championship game hero Jacoby Jones went with simply tweeted, “wow”.
“I imagine there were times last year when these players were the only ones who knew that they’d make it here to show off this trophy.” Obama said at one point in his speech.
“It’s an unbelievable honor. We are grateful,” said Harbaugh during his turn at the podium. “And I want you to know, we have plans to be back next year.”
Notable personnel not in attendance at the event include receiver Anquan Boldin and safety Bernard Pollard, who were traded away and released by the Ravens respectively. The team’s right tackle Michael Oher was also absent as well as team owner Steve Bisciotti.
The trip to the White House was the Ravens second in the last 12 years, and is one they will look to repeat again next off-season.
Video from Fox Sports via youtube
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